FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW FindAPhD Weekly PhD Newsletter | JOIN NOW

Eastbio Developing a commercial breeding program to support the cultivation of the red seaweed dulse (Palmaria palmata)


   PHD Opportunities

  , , ,  Monday, December 05, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The adoption of renewable, alternative food and energy sources is critical for addressing multiple global challenges, including the world's climate catastrophe and poor human nutrition. Seaweed farming provides an appropriate response by providing nutritious foods and feeds, diversifying production options and circularising economies. Despite a growing demand for seaweed biomass in Europe, most is still sourced by wild harvesting. This is not sustainable as demand grows, especially for the red seaweed dulse (Palmaria palmata), which has been wild-collected for centuries for human consumption and animal feed. Markets for dulse’s nutritional value, bioactive compounds for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications, use as biofuel and as a ruminant feed supplement, are already developing. But establishing viable approaches and suitable strains for dulse cultivation is not simple.

Dulse is a dioecious macroalgae with a microscopic haploid female and a macroscopic haploid male gametophyte. The diploid sporophytes appear identical to the male gametophytes, making morphological differentiation difficult. Little is known about whether the diploid sporophyte or male gametophyte is preferable for commercial farming, particularly in terms of growth rate and biomass build-up. This PhD project will investigate the genetic challenges that have hindered commercial dulse breeding. PhD objectives include the: (1) development of diagnostic genetic markers to differentiate haploid male gametophytes and diploid sporophytes; (2) evaluation of the relationship between life stages and economically important traits such as growth rate and biomass; (3) development of a genetic map; and (4) modelling of an optimal breeding program.

The PhD will draw on a wide array of expertise at SRUC and Roslin Institute. Sex-linked genetic markers will be identified through genotype-by-sequencing of the sporophytes and their resulting progeny gametophytes. These will then be developed into KASP markers for the easy identification of life stages. We will screen for haploid male gametophytes and diploid sporophytes in freshly collected dulse samples. Within the same samples, we will record the biomass (wet and fresh densities) and evaluate the in vitro growth rate of dulse cuttings under various experimental conditions (e.g. life stages, initial cutting sizes, salinity level in growing medium, light intensity). Genotype-by-sequencing markers will be applied to the development of a genetic map, simulate a dulse breeding program with genomic selection, and map QTLs.

The PhD student will have opportunity for a non-academic professional internship through EASTBIO to learn more about commercial seaweed breeding in other established species and apply the relevant knowledge to dulse.

HOW TO APPLY

Application instructions can be found on the EASTBIO website- http://www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk/how-apply-0

1)     Download and complete the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey.

2)     Download and complete the EASTBIO Application Form.

3)     Submit both to SRUC, .

A complete application must include the following documents:

  • Completed EASTBIO application form
  • 2 References (to be completed on the EASTBIO Reference Form, also found on the EASTBIO website)
  • Academic Qualifications
  • English Language Qualification (if applicable)

Unfortunately due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications. Please make sure your application is complete by Monday 5th December 2022.


Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership.
This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover stipend at UKRI standard rate and UK level tuition fees.

How good is research at SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College in Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences?


Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now


PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs